One of the iconic sights of the Severn Valley Railway is set to return to the track after a 27-year absence.
The Hagley Hall locomotive has been earmarked for a significant restoration project in a bid to bring it back into operation. Officials at Severn Valley Railway explained that they plan to spend £400,000 on revamping the engine which was acquired from a scrapyard in 1972. Since then it was used for passenger travel up until 1986 but was subsequently withdrawn from service after its boiler certificate expired.
Originally built by Great Western Railway's Swindon Works in 1929, the Hagley Hall has had somewhat of a turbulent history in recent years. It was first withdrawn in December 1963 after travelling the Midlands and south of England on a regular basis. It was sold to Woodham's scrapyard in Barry in April 1964 and lay there with its future uncertain. However, this restoration aims to bring the locomotive back to its former glory.
It marks a huge milestone for the Friends of Loco 4930 Hagley Hall Group which has been working tirelessly to ensure the preservation of this steam train. Severn Valley Railway confirmed that the work will take around three to four years to complete and it has been moved from the Engine House at Highley to Bridgnorth so that the project can begin.
Nick Ralls, Severn Valley Railway's general manager, said: "This is a very important milestone for the railway, along with our shareholders and the Friends of Loco 4930 Hagley Hall Group. The locomotive is well-suited to the line and has many supporters. It will be fantastic to see it start on its journey to return to service after more than a quarter of a century."
Once the work is complete then the Hagley Hall will become the flagship locomotive of the Severn Valley Railway with the aim of carrying passengers over the coming years.